This week: The Curtal SonnetEdited by: eyestar~
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Happy New Year Readers! I am so happy to be a guest editor this week.
"A rose by any other name would smell as sweet." W.Shakespeare
How about a sonnet?
I was reading sonnets and came across one of my favourite poems by Gerard Manley Hopkins. I had no idea that it was a sonnet! I mean it is not 14 lines as most sonnets are. I had heard of three main types: Shakespearean, the Petrarchan, the Shakespearean, and the Spenserian. All of these have the fourteen lines, a volta, iambic pentameter - and written in sequences.
Gerard Manley Hopkins actually invented what he called the "Curtal Sonnet" in the 19th century and wrote three examples. My favourite one, written in 1877 is:
Glory be to God for dappled things—
For skies of couple-colour as a brinded cow;
For rose-moles all in stipple upon trout that swim;
Fresh-firecoal chestnut-falls; finches' wings;
Landscape plotted and pieced—fold, fallow, and plough;
And áll trádes, their gear and tackle and trim.
All things counter, original, spare, strange;
Whatever is fickle, freckled (who knows how?)
With swift, slow; sweet, sour; adazzle, dim;
He fathers-forth whose beauty is past change:
Hopkins (28 July 1844 – 8 June 1889) was an English poet and Jesuit priest, whose work only became famous and influencial after his death! Thanks to Robert Bridges, who published some of his poems, he became one of the leading Victorian poets. His use of prosody – the idea of "sprung rhythm" and his technique of praising God through imagery and nature made him an innovative writer of verse. By 1930 his work was recognised as an original literary accomplishment, that later influenced poets like T.S Eliot, and Dylan Thomas.
The word "curtal" is an old word meaning shortened and was termed by Hopkins.
The curtal sonnet has 11 lines, 10 lines written in iambic pentameter and a final line consisting of a single spondee (or foot consisting of two long or stressed syllables). Here's the rhyme scheme:
Line 1: a
Line 2: b
Line 3: c
Line 4: a
Line 5: b
Line 6: c
Line 7: d
Line 8: b
Line 9: c
Line 10: d
Line 11: c
Here is another of his curtal sonnets.
When will you ever, Peace, wild wooddove, shy wings shut,
Your round me roaming end, and under be my boughs?
When, when, Peace, will you, Peace? I'll not play hypocrite
To own my heart: I yield you do come sometimes; but
That piecemeal peace is poor peace. What pure peace allows
Alarms of wars, the daunting wars, the death of it?
O surely, reaving Peace, my Lord should leave in lieu
Some good! And so he does leave Patience exquisite,
That plumes to Peace thereafter. And when Peace here does house
He comes with work to do, he does not come to coo,
He comes to brood and sit.
Who knew? Well, maybe you did!
A cool reference and more modern examples if you care to read and try one out!
Thanks for reading! Happy 2021! What will you write or invent with your poetic muse?
Sonnets of any type! Enjoy!
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Yes, until we all learn peaceful ways, it is so.
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